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It’s Everywhere

Flu hits Texas hard. Follow these tips to avoid becoming the next victim.

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Fever, chills, headaches. Medicine, hospitalization, septic shock. Influenza is plaguing the country.

Two types of the respiratory illness, flu A and flu B, have invaded North Texas, each with multiple strains. Even those who had the flu shot may be vulnerable, and it is possible to be sick twice, once with A and once with B.

The flu is not just a severe cold or a simple illness, so it is important to know the symptoms and get to the doctor quickly. Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea may all be indicators. Prescription anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu may relieve symptoms quicker and prevent complications, but they are most effective if started within two days of feeling sick.

One of the top places where the flu has been spread from person to person is inside of schools. Several schools and districts have shut down due to the flu. Jesuit College Preparatory School closed for two days in January so the facilities could be disinfected.

Flu spreads mainly through droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even just talks. A person is contagious from one day before until five to seven days after they become sick.

Upper School Nurse, Mrs. Lori Liles, said, “The flu contagious phase begins before the fever, and that it why it is so easy to give someone the flu.” In order to keep the flu from spreading be aware of symptoms like headaches, chills and body aches. The guidelines at the school are to stay home until fever free for 24 hours without Tylenol or Advil.

Mrs. Liles said, “Wash your hands!” People don’t put enough emphasis on the importance of having clean hands when you eat, touch your face or touch someone else. In order to help not spread the flu, wash hands and cover the mouth when coughing. “Take care of your germs,” she said.

Junior Karen Sculley came down with the flu over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. After being outside in the cold working on a group project, she wasn’t surprised when she felt a little under the weather. She woke up on Thursday before the long weekend with a fever after feeling “off” a couple days before that. She ended up missing two days of school and had a considerable amount of makeup work.

“I had a massive headache and felt dehydrated to the point where I didn’t have the energy to do anything,” she said.

Karen said, “The makeup work wasn’t too bad, but it was still stressful. I felt super tired and had no energy. Talk to all your teachers so you can stay caught up with any work because the last thing you want to do is get behind in the third quarter,” she said.

“I couldn’t go to school for four whole days, and I missed learning about coins and the presidents. A lot of my friends keep getting sick so we put them in the prayer bubble on the whiteboard so we remember to pray for them,” said Kindergarten student Malini Caesar.

Seniors Emmy and Ally Akdamar both came down with the flu, Emmy two days after Ally. Both the girls had gotten a flu shot the month before they got sick. Because the sisters are constantly around each other, it is not surprising one gave it to the other.

Emmy said, “It was easy to get each other sick. My older brother had it first when he was home over Christmas break, then Ally got it, then I got it. I would tell people to pay close attention to what the sick siblings eat, drink or touch because we weren’t that careful, and we all got sick.”

Here are six healthy tips to help avoid the flu this year and stay as healthy as possible:

  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home when sick
  • Sneeze or cough into elbow
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Avoid touching the face
  • Eat well, exercise and get adequate sleep to boost the immune system

The Centers for Disease Control declared the flu a national epidemic and shows it to be widespread in every state except Oregon and Hawaii. Symptoms should not be taken lightly or assumed to be “just a cold.” Quick treatment is essential to avoid serious complications such as Pneumonia and Sepsis.

So far, over 100 people in the area have died from this season’s flu epidemic. Many were older or had underlying medical conditions. But some, such as a 38-year-old school teacher in Weatherford, did not.

Sepsis, another complication of flu, can also lead to serious consequences. According to the Sepsis Alliance, “Sepsis is your body’s over active and toxic response to an infection.” One Texas man lost both feet and nine fingers when flu led to sepsis.

While there is no need to panic, the flu is a serious illness and should be treated as such. When symptoms strike, seek treatment and stay home. Otherwise, wash hands, avoid touching the face and keep the immune system healthy to avoid falling victim until the flu season peak is over in March.

 

 

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